I’ve had an idea for brightening up Wray Avenue for some time. It’s about building community, beautifying the street and reclaiming our public space as something we engage and interact with every day. I decided to try it out on the first weekend of this summer, to celebrate the sunny season.
I bought enough chalk to give to nearly every house and business on Wray Avenue between the traffic lights and the roundabout. I placed one in every letterbox with the following letter:
Happy Summer neighbour!
To celebrate the first weekend of summer on our lovely avenue, I had the idea of making it more beautiful than it already is with a series of chalk drawings. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to reclaim our public space and make the footpaths a sea of colour and creativity!
We get so much foot traffic on our avenue but often all we see and hear are the cars, trucks and buses, people travelling through it. How amazing would it be to step outside and see our avenue blooming with colour and a sense of community!
To help achieve this, I give you the gift of a single coloured stick of chalk and ask that you draw a picture or write a message from your heart on the path in front of your house.
Your neighbours have been given a different colour, so why not take this opportunity to introduce yourself and swap to expand your knowledge of your neighbours.
How special would Saturday be if everyone in our street was out in the morning, talking to each other and creating a mural along the pathways for pedestrians to enjoy for the rest of the weekend!
Please take time to be involved and share in this celebration of summer on Fremantle’s only avenue!
Your friendly neighbour
I put these into letterboxes on Thursday night after the first Cappuccino Strip Street Party of the summer with Emma, partly inspired by this event’s success in connecting community.
Along the way we met some of my neighbours who I didn’t yet know. They were really encouraging of the idea, which I was quite nervous about. Later, Tim from Replants even made me lay down on the road while he drew my outline with chalk. I was having fun!
On Friday night I noticed that Trish from Madame Bukeshla had decorated her front step with a chalky welcome mat and a message saying, “Let the light shine in, let the love sine out.”
I was ecstatic! People were starting to do it, get out on the street and reclaim their public space.
Saturday was even better when I went out to do my laundry and saw that Laura and Daniel (whom I later met as a result of this project) had drawn an amazing picture of tea drinkers with the caption, “Pleased to meet you!”
Further down by Attfield Street, some people had also been out early, drawing a wet dog with the caption, “Life’s a beach and then you dry!”
I went out several times during the day and saw these chalk drawings appearing, pedestrians interacting with them and neighbours talking to each other more than I’d ever seen.
My favourite story of the day was of an elderly man whose grandchildren had come over and he’d gone from house to house trying to track down more chalk for them to play with on the footpath.
The entire idea was inspired by some children whose earlier chalk drawings I had blogged about here. They also got out later in the day and did some amazingly colourful pictures.
Here’s some of the day’s highlights:
I count it all as a real success and I look forward to facilitating this celebration again next year!